A Happy Thanksgiving filled with spice and love.
Anadama bread, an old New England (many say Maine) recipe, often appears on my Thanksgiving table. What distinguishes this bread is the inclusion of cornmeal and molasses, creating a darker, crusty loaf with a hint of sweetness. So delicious with your meal and yummy, toasted.
I learned to bake bread at a Maine music festival, where my husband taught and performed. A pianist at the festival was a professional baker and cook and made bread each week for the staff. She invited me to bake with her and I did for 6 wonderful summers. Her Anadama Bread is one of the best I’ve ever tasted, especially with the option of adding cheese chunks (picture at bottom), which partially melt leaving little nuggets of flavor. Not as common outside of New England, once you taste it, Anadama bread will make a regular appearance at your table!
Yield: 4 large loaves
3 1/2 c water
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 teaspoons salt
1 cup molasses
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cup bread flour
8 cup unbleached white flour
Preheat oven to 350. Place oven proof dish, such as a pie plate filled with 2” water or 2 Pyrex cups, on a lower oven shelf.
Cook water, cornmeal and salt until thickened.
Pour oil into measuring cup and then add molasses. Pour into cornmeal mixture. Cool to lukewarm.
Add water/yeast mixture to molasses/cornmeal. Mix to combine.
Add bread flour and mix together. Add more flour a little at a time, until mixture cannot add any more flour.
Place dough on clean surface. Knead until elastic. Let rise 1 hour or until double in size in a warm and draft free spot.
Punch down and add cubed cheese at this point, if desired.
Sprinkle cornmeal on kneading surface. Form 4 round loaves on top of cornmeal. Cover. Let rise in draft free spot for 1/2 hour.
Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or until when bottom of loaf is tapped, it sounds hollow. Cool on rack. Serve. If not serving immediately, wrap in plastic wrap or a clean towel until ready to serve.
If you want to freeze, wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and place in plastic bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
Cheesy nuggets of flavor: After you punch down the dough, add 1 pound cheddar or swiss cheese, cubed.
(Do not grate! You want those nuggets of cheese to be seen and tasted!) Place cubes on top of dough. Knead
in and form loaves. Let rise and bake as directed.
On her 15th birthday, Brigit Quinn receives a large leather journal written by the women in her family, beginning on Sept.19, 1324.
Is Brigit worthy of the gifts she receives? As she reads about the crises of her female ancestors, her family's ancient journal, with a bit of magic, helps Brigit find her own way.
The Lavender Tea Bread paired with this review was a hit at our house--you'll love it too!